Show of 11-02-2019

Tech Talk

November 2, 2019

Email and Forum Questions

  • Email from Darshan in Hyderabad, India: Dear Tech Talk. I travel a lot and my cell phone battery dies too quickly. I don’t always have a outlet available for charging. Is there a way to keep by cell phone alive? Darshan in Hyderabad, India
  • Tech Talk Responds: You need an external battery for your cell phone. The questions is what size battery? The iPhone II battery is rated at 3,200 maH. That could also be said as 3.2 Amp Hours. Since the battery generates current at 5 V, that could also be specified as 16 Watt Hours. I have a 25,000 maH external battery It can charge an iPhone11 at least seven times. I got one with a good form factor, so it not too think. I got the LanLuk Portable Charge Power Bank from Amazon for $29.95. This is made with two thin flat batteries, rather than a row of cylindrical batteries, so it is much thinner than other power packs and a little more expensive. I got a six inch charging cable so I can easily carry the phone the battery pack. It worked really well for my last trip to India.
  • Email from Subhadra in Germantown: Dear Tech Talk. I listened to your show about using a power line networking kit to access the Internet from a distant room, and I was wondering if that would work in my situation. My sister lives in the house right next door to mine and I would like to share my Internet connection with her to save her some money. She lives on a fixed income and anything she can do to save money is a help to her. The only thing she’ll be using the Internet with is her computer because she doesn’t have a cell phone. Our houses are very close together (almost touching in fact). Thanks for your help. Subhadra Germantown
  • Tech Talk: You will not be able to use a power line networking kit to share your Internet connection with her. Power line networking adapters only work when connected to outlets that are wired to the same electrical panel. That means your Internet signal will not go out onto the main power grid to reach your sister’s house.
  • There is a good chance that your sister might be able to piggyback off your Wi-Fi network. Pay your sister a visit, and while you’re there pull out your smart phone and check to see if it recognizes your Wi-Fi network. If it does, check the strength of the signal to see if it is strong enough for your sister to use it. If so, problem solved!
  • If your Wi-Fi signal can’t be detected in your sister’s house (or if it’s too weak to use) you might be able to move your wireless router closer to the side of the house that is adjacent to your sister’s house. That would give your Wi-Fi signal a better chance of making its way into your sister’s house. If you are unable to move the router you can always try a Wi-Fi Range Extender. Best of luck, Subhadra
  • Email from Ahmed in Springfield: My computer’s manual says the motherboard supports DDR3 RAM at speeds up to 1333Mhz. I want to replace the old RAM sticks with new ones to max it out but right now the slowest DDR3 RAM sticks I can find locally are rated at 1600Mhz. I don’t want to order online if I can possibly avoid it but I don’t want to damage my computer either. Can my computer use the faster RAM or would it cause problems? Love the podcast. Ahmed in Springfield
  • Tech Talk Responds: The short answer to your questions is yes. Your computer will work fine if you install the faster RAM. It will simply run at the slower 1333Mhz speed. There a couple of caveats to keep in mind.
  • Make sure the total amount of RAM you are planning to install (i.e. the capacity of all the individual RAM sticks added together) does not exceed the maximum amount supported by your motherboard. For example, if your motherboard supports a maximum of 8GB then you won’t be able to install any more than that
  • Make sure you do not purchase individual RAM sticks that are larger than your motherboard can accept. For example, if your motherboard supports a maximum of 16GB but it cannot handle RAM sticks larger than 4GB, you will need to install four 4GB sticks instead of two 8GB sticks.
  • Email from Susan in Alexandria: Good morning, Dr. Shurtz. Many thanks:
    • For advising us to disable the default in Google Calendar which allows others to add event invites automatically to your Calendar. (9/7/2019)
    • For advising us to stop using Internet Explorer; certainly to stop using it as the default browser. In addition, since I have MS Edge on Windows 10, I decided to “Turn Off” Internet Explorer 11 under the Programs and Features setting. (9/28/2019)
    • For profiling a number of female pioneers in IT.
  • I recently read about the passing of Sally Floyd, another such pioneer. With a natural aptitude in mathematics and a PhD in Computer Science, Dr. Sally Floyd, along with Dr. Van Jacobson, developed Random Early Detection.  The RED algorithm is essential in smoothing network traffic congestion and making the internet viable. Your show is so informative, helpful and entertaining too! Susan in Alexandria
  • Tech Talk Responds: Thanks for the positive feedback. I love to do this show. It is my weekly therapy. Sally Floyd is a great suggestion. She is the type of person we profile. Thanks for the suggestion.
  • Email from Doug Baton Rouge, LA: Shurtz and Jim. I have a good regular hard drive that I disconnected about 6-8 months ago and replaced it with an SSD (Solid State Drive). I am thinking about temporarily disconnecting the SSD and pressing the original hard drive back into service for a while. My concern is about the outdated updates on the drive with Microsoft Win-10 and my (IP) AT&T’s McAfee. What strategy does Microsoft and AT&T do to bring 6-8 months of critical updates for a hard drive offline for long periods? Do they chronologically download every file to the latest or download just certain files and then the latest? I am concerned about the time it will take online for the updates to replace the outdated security, etc. files. Thanks, Doug / Baton Rouge, LA
  • Tech Talk Responds: You can force the OS system updates by going to the Windows update page. You can do the same for the AV software. They do the updates chronologically and it could take a while. This really has nothing to do with which hard drive you have installed. It will take awhile. If you don’t surf the web while the updates are being installed your safe, because you are behind a firewall.
  • If you are worried about updating your hard drive device driver or firmware, that is different story. The update cycle works like this. The vendor releases the update and sends the drive update to MS. Microsoft then schedules the update in the normal update cycle. You can go directly to the vendor’s website and download the Windows10 device driver or firmware updates directly. I have done that on occasion and it works perfectly. Always make certain to complete a full back up or disk image before trying anything new on your storage media.
  • Email form Lilly in Fairfax: Dear Doc and Jim. I have an account with a popular online business forum and I’ve forgotten my password. I can still log in because Chrome has stored the password, but I’m afraid something will happen and the password will disappear on me. Even though the password is saved I can’t read it because all it shows is a bunch of asterisks. I tried resetting the password by clicking the “Forgot Password?” link, but it isn’t working. Is there any way to retrieve my current password from Chrome or am I just out of luck? Lilly in Fairfax
  • Tech Talk Respond: I recommend that you first try to reset the password from inside the account after you sign in with the stored password. It is virtually a sure bet that whatever service you are using has an option somewhere in the Settings menus to change your password.
  • If that fails however, you might indeed be able to retrieve your current password from Chrome as you mentioned in your question. Try this:
    • Launch your Chrome browser.
    • Type chrome://settings/passwords into the address bar, then press the Enter key. That should display a list of your stored passwords (obscured by a row of dots).
    • Find the hidden password for the site you want to retrieve the password for and click the “eye” icon. The plain text password should appear.
  • You should now have your forgotten password, ready to use to log in to your account.

Profiles in IT: Leonard Kleinrock

  • Leonard Kleinrock pioneered the mathematical theory of packet networks, the technology underpinning the Internet.
  • Kleinrock was born in New York City on June 13, 1934
  • In 1951, he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science.
  • In 1957, Kleinrock received a BSEE from the City College of New York.
  • He received his MS (1957) and PhD (1963) from MIT. His dissertation was titled, Message Delay in Communication Nets with Storage, established a mathematical theory of packet networks
  • In 1963, Kleinrock then joined the faculty at UCLA, where he remains until today.
  • From 1991 to 1995, he served as the Chairman of the Computer Science Department.
  • In 1967, Lawrence Roberts he sought out Kleinrock to model the performance of packet-switched networks that underpinned the development of the ARPANET.
  • His theoretical work on hierarchical routing in the late 1970s remains critical to the operation of the Internet today.
  • The first message on the ARPANET was sent by student Charley Kline on October 29, 1969. Kline transmitted from the UCLA to Stanford Research Institute.
  • The message text was the word “login”; the “l” and the “o” letters were transmitted, but the system then crashed. Hence, the first message over the ARPANET was “lo”.
  • The first permanent ARPANET link was established Nov.21, 1969, between the IMP (Interface Message Processor) at UCLA and the IMP at Stanford Research Institute.
  • By December 5, 1969, the entire four-node network was established: UCLA, SRI, UCSB, and University of Utah.
  • In 1971, the first email was sent by MIT researcher Ray Tomlinson, which was also the first time the “@” sign was used to designate a specific recipient of a message.
  • In 1988, Kleinrock was the chairman of a group that presented the report Toward a National Research Network to the U.S. Congress. This report was highly influential and was used to develop the High Performance Computing Act of 1991, that was influential in the development of the Internet as it is known today.
  • Funding from the bill was used in the development of the 1993 web browser Mosaic, at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).
  • Kleinrock claims to have committed the first illegal act on the Internet, having sent a request for return of his electric razor after a meeting in England in 1973. At the time, use of the Internet for personal reasons was unlawful.
  • He has published over 250 papers and six books on a wide array of subjects including packet switching networks, packet radio networks, local area networks, broadband networks, nomadic computing, peer-to-peer networks, and intelligent software agents.
  • In 2001 he received the Draper Prize “for the development of the Internet”
  • In 2008, Kleinrock received the National Medal of Science for his contributions to the mathematical theory of data networks and for the specification of packet switching.

The Internet is Now 50 Years Old

  • 1969: First packet switch message sent by Leonard Kleinrock and student.
  • 1971: First email sent by Ray Tomlinson.
  • 1973: TCP/IP (internetworking protocol) created by Bob Kahn and Vince Cerf
  • 1991: WWW (browser and hyperlink) created by Tim Berners-Lee
  • 1995: Amazon began selling books on the Internet (Jeff Bezos)
  • 1998: Google’s first search by Larry Page and Sergey Brin
  • 2003: iTunes launched by Steve Jobs.
  • 2004: Facebook invented by Mark Zuckerberg
  • 2006: First tweet sent via Twitter by Jack Dorsey and team.

Idea of the Week: Remember Anything with This 20-Minute Habit

  • Hermann Ebbinghaus pioneered the experimental study of memory. He developed the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve a hundred years ago.
  • The Forgetting Curve describes how we retain or lose information that we take in, using a one-hour lecture as the basis of the model.
    • The curve is at its highest point (the most information retained) right after the one-hour lecture.
    • One day after the lecture, if you’ve done nothing with the material, you’ll have lost between 50 and 80 percent of it from your memory.
    • By day seven, that erodes to about 10 percent retained, and by day 30, the information is virtually gone (only 2-3 percent retained).
  • With just 20 minutes of work, you’ll retain almost all of what you learned.
  • Ebbinghaus’s formula calls for you to spend 10 minutes reviewing the material within 24 hours of having received it (that will raise the curve back up to almost 100 percent retained again).
  • Seven days later, spend five minutes to “reactivate” the same material and raise the curve up again.
  • By day 30, your brain needs only two to four minutes to completely “reactivate” the same material, again raising the curve back up.
  • Thus, a total of 20 minutes invested in review at specific intervals and a month later you have fantastic retention of that interesting seminar.
  • After that, monthly brush-ups of just a few minutes will help you keep the material fresh.

Government Officials Targeted with WhatsApp Hack

  • Senior government officials in multiple U.S.-allied countries were targeted earlier this year with hacking software that used WhatsApp to take over users’ phones.
  • Sources familiar with WhatsApp’s internal investigation into the breach said a “significant” portion of the known victims are high-profile government and military officials in at least 20 countries on five continents.
  • WhatsApp filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Israeli hacking tool developer NSO Group. They allege that NSO Group built and sold a hacking platform that exploited a flaw in WhatsApp-owned servers to help clients hack into the cellphones of at least 1,400 users between April 29, 2019, and May 10, 2019.
  • NSO has said it sells its spyware exclusively to government customers.
  • Some victims are in the United States, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Mexico, Pakistan and India, said people familiar with the investigation.
  • Some Indian nationals have gone public with allegations they were among the targets over the past couple of days; they include journalists, academics, lawyers and defenders of India’s Dalit community.
  • WhatsApp has said it sent warning notifications to affected users earlier this week. The company has declined to comment on the identities of NSO Group’s clients, who ultimately chose the targets.

Pegasus, the WhatsApp Spyware

  • In May 2019, WhatsApp identified a bug in its call function. The bug was used to install a malicious code into users’ phones
  • On October 29, it identified the malicious code as Pegasus, a spyware developed by an Israeli company called NSO.
  • The code is transmitted by calling the target phone on WhatsApp. It enters the phone even if the call is not answered. This is only one of the ways of delivering Pegasus.
  • Once installed, it can send the target’s contacts, calendar events, phone calls and messages on communication apps like WhatsApp and Telegram to the spyware’s controller.
  • It can also turn the phone into a spying device by switching on its camera or microphone.
  • Over 100 human-rights activists, lawyers, and journalists were targeted across the globe including several lawyers and journalists in India.
  • Apple’s iOS security update 9.3.5 takes care of the vulnerability exploited by Pegasus.
  • Google says it identifies infected Android phones, disables the malware and informs the targets.

Russia enacts Sovereign Internet Law

  • A law known as the “sovereign internet” bill came into force on Friday in Russia, tightening state control over the global network, which free speech activists say will strengthen government oversight of the country’s cyberspace.
  • The legislation aims to route Russian web traffic and data through points controlled by state authorities and to build a national Domain Name System to allow the internet to continue working even if Russia is cut off from foreign infrastructure.
  • The bill’s authors have said that the measures are needed to defend Russia after the United States adopted what they described as aggressive new cyber security policies last year.
  • Russian authorities have in recent years adopted a series of rules such as stricter regulations on public protests, tightening their control over society, effectively giving more powers to President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB operative.